Archives

Aldona WosIs anyone else out there starting to get the impression that North Carolina DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos is bit of a…a…how shall I put this?

A control freak?

First, it was the ill-fated dress code edict. Then it was the rather remarkable comment about the “danger” of government transparency.

And now it’s… Signature-gate!

As of next Monday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Servces will apparently have a new, official three-page policy specifying how Department employees will sign their names on emails.

As you can see by clicking here, we are not making this up.

According to the document obtained by NC Policy Watch, as of April 22, DHHS employees must comply with the “DHHS Email Signature policy.” Read More

Over the weekend, the Wilmington StarNews published a pair of competing op-eds on the subject of Gov. McCrory’s Medicaid privatization plan – one by Adam Linker of the N.C. Health Access Coalition and another by HHS Secretary Aldona Vos.  

Unfortunately, the two pieces serve as a kind of microcosm of the first few months of the McCrory administration’s public performance. Read More

Dianna Lightfoot, who resigned before taking a job as the head of the state’s early education and child development division, saw media interest in her online commentary as attacks, according to emails released as part of a public records request.

“Just got a call saying someone had found a Tweet where I termed Hillary Clinton butch,” Lightfoot wrote in a Feb. 6 email to Matthew McKillip, a DHHS policy advisor. “Guess they’re really after me.”

That phone call Lightfoot referenced appears to have been from N.C. Policy Watch, which published this post about one of the more controversial comments Lightfoot made online. Lightfoot, who headed a group that questioned the value of early education, was the subject of several media  stories after the Feb. 5 announcement of her hire. She took down her Twitter feed shortly after the press inquiries.

Dianna Lightfoot

Dianna Lightfoot

McKillip, who worked for Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign before joining DHHS, and Lightfoot exchanged several emails about Lightfoot’s appointment by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, both before and after Lightfoot’s position on early education and Twitter posts attracted media attention.

“You may already know that I’ve been appointed DHHS Director of Child Development and Education,” Lightfoot wrote in a Feb. 2 email to McKillip. “Thanks for your help!”

“Yes! Congratulations! I’m glad it’s official!,” McKillip wrote back a few hours later. “Look forward to having you on board!”

The emails were released Monday as part of a Feb. 8 public records request N.C. Policy Watch and several other media organizations made about Lightfoot’s appointment and subsequent resignation.

Read More

UPDATE: Dianna Lightfoot resigned on Thursday morning, two days after appointment. Read more here.

The state’s new head of early education programs referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “butch” in a Twitter post about female members of the Obama Administration.

Dianna Lightfoot, under the Twitter handle @chinalight44, sent the tweet in July 2011 in response to another Twitter user who was critical of GOP politicians U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Lightfoot volunteered as an adviser for Bachmann’s presidential campaign, according to Lightfoot’s LinkedIn page.

“Between hillary and the other butch bunch obama anointed (sic) it’s great to finally see 2 with intelligence depth and femininity,” Lightfoot tweeted.

“Butch” is a term that can be used in a derogatory sense against lesbian women.

Lightfoot Tweet

Lightfoot did not respond to two calls for comment left on her cell phone this afternoon.

The Twitter profile for Lightfoot identifies her as a “Public Policy Executive; recruits, organizes, manages medical and child welfare experts to respond to policy and legislation. NC and CA.”

Lightfoot has also served as the president since 2001 of the National Physicans Center for Family Resources, a small non-profit that had less than $20,000 in funding last year and has lobbied nationally on abstinence and early education issues. Her new DHHS position puts her in charge of the state’s SmartStart program, which is recognized nationally for its work helping low-income families.

“Encouraging parents to entrust their children to an institution may result in some being less responsible and reliable,” wrote Lightfoot and two doctors in the National Physicians Center policy argument against early-childhood education.  “In the long run, there is great potential for early learning institutions to foster more dependency on the government (i.e. taxpayer) and more of an entitlement mentality.

The group’s policy page, which advocates children being taught in the home in their early years, also cited a 1997 poll from the fashion magazine Glamour stating that 88 percent of women would work from home if they could afford it.

She’s scheduled to begin work next Monday with an annual salary of $110,000.

Update: Lightfoot’s Twitter account was deactivated shortly after this post was published.

UPDATE 2: DHHS spokeswoman Julie Henry released this statement Wednesday evening regarding Lightfoot:

“Ms. Lightfoot was selected for this position because she has extensive expertise in healthcare, child welfare and education.  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is committed to outcomes-based, effective and quality early childhood programs and Ms. Lightfoot will work closely with the Secretary to carry out the department’s mission to protect the health and well being of all people, especially young children.”